A lockdown post…

A rare thing this week when some work comes in. Not a gig as such but definitely work and very welcome it is too. Maybe not financially worth it but for my sense of self.

It requires a car journey which I relish. I even hope that that Plod (cops, for my US readers) might pull me over to enquire why I am not staying home and saving lives as our government adverts constantly implore us to do.

“I am going to work, officer.”

Something I have not been able to say for almost a year.

I have been booked to narrate a series of children’s books for a real life publisher. The same outfit, in fact, who published my novels but then fired me and this throws up all manner of emotions as I hare up the M40, within the speed limit because this gig is not an earner and a speeding fine would make it a loss.

Ten books in fact and I am allocated just two hours to lock them off. As I read – sorry,  ‘perform’ them, darling, I am enticed by the prospect of writing children’s books. Barely a hundred words per book. It has to be the easiest gig of all. You know the sort; frightful jeopardy, miraculous but implausible resolutions and all hinging on a few words rhyming.

Nice work if one can get it.

And for the voice artistes too, lucky enough to narrate such tomes. After commission, I am looking at twenty quid per book and so I need to find other upsides and fortunately this is something I have needed to become expert at.

So, here goes…

I am out of my house. I am working. I have another journey home to look forward to. And maybe my new listeners in the years ahead, they might remember the man who narrated their favourite books and then come to read my books also?

This last one is a stretch I know, but man of an certain age working in the arts and in the 3rd lockdown…

Such optimism (delusion) and hope is a key mindset for anyone looking for a long term career in the arts.

Because let’s face it, there are so few real stars. Most careers stutter and falter and why such a mindset is essential for exponents to keep on keeping on. Having conviction is the kind interpretation. Clutching at straws is more accurate.

Narrating these books is also a good experience. To do something new. Book narrator will make my curriculum vitae (resume, for my US readers) more full and interesting (I do not have a curriculum vitae btw). But also because I am about to narrate one of my own books for audio and so this will be a good experience to draw upon. Albeit my book is eighty thousand words long, is not illustrated and does not rhyme.

It is called Eclipsed and is the true story of a father and son and their attempts to crack Hollywood. One is a writer and one is an actor. One is a very deliberate ploy and intention. The other is a complete fluke. A piece of serendipity. Taking opportunities as they appear and seeing what comes in, if anything?

And with very different results.

As the author and current publisher of Eclipsed, naturally I am going to narrate the book myself. Call this nepotism but I think I’ve earned the honour, having lived it and ‘bravely’ written it.

The intention being for the audio book, that the dad reads the book and then father and son will reminisce on certain key anecdotes to serve as something of an update but mostly to make the project more commercial.

I plan to use the same engineer and his studio in Oxford. I liked the bloke and besides, there is something about narrating a book amidst the spires of Oxford. I applied to be an undergraduate at Oxford University many years ago and in fact, I am still waiting to hear back from them. I should probably assume it is a “NO” by now.

Their loss?

It will take four days to complete the book. Eight journeys then with the harrowing government radio adverts for company.

“….unless your journey is absolutely necessary.”

Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

Well, the print version of Eclipsed is not troubling the sales of JK Rowling or Lee Child. So maybe the audio version will be the breakthrough…

Get out of the house (safely) – Try and make a living – Feel Alive.

Less catchy.

But you see my point?





16 thoughts on “A lockdown post…

  1. Sara says:

    I definitely get your point.! And now I really want to read the book Eclipsed! I read 1 of your books already now I am on the second one. You are a great author and it‘s really their loss I can tell that!!!

  2. Kayla Rae says:

    So glad you’re getting some normalcy with this job! Everything is exciting in this weird season of life. And the thought of you reading children’s books is absolutely delightful.

    • Alice says:

      Wow love the blog, properly funny stories about day to day life. Would be great if you made some children’s stories. So happy my friend Lisa introduced me to the funny tales of the legend Dom Holland!
      Keep smiling

  3. Lorraine says:

    Congratulations Dom. An excuse to leave the house on four different occasions!! You are such a rebel,
    actually leaving the house. It’s definitely the time you won’t be stopped by the police as you have a valid reason to go somewhereDelighted to hear that you are narrating. Looking forward to hearing Eclipsed when you do that. I love that book and have read it more than once. Have a good week ahead

  4. Katie says:

    I too have a complicated relationship with my home. I cant wait to leave it until I am preparing to do so and then find myself worried that the place I’m going will not have my comfy surfaces or tasty snacks. Every pull in and out of the driveway is somewhat of a triumph, first in getting the heck out of my prison then again pulling back in to happily lock myself back into my comfortable cell. I just purchased this book on World Book Day and I don’t think I’ll be able to resist reading it until the audiobook premieres but I’ll be sure keep an audible credit on hold for such an occasion. All the best! Katie

  5. Mashaal says:

    Dom, congrats on being able to record for the audiobook! I’m sharing your optimisms (not delusions) that it should definitely help you with a breakthrough 🙂 Best of luck with the recordings and keep us updated xx

  6. Sydnee Coleman says:

    This is a fantastic blog Mr. H, first I would like to say thank you for writing what words mean for us in the US, it makes it easier and I don’t have to look up some words. Secondly, I’m so proud of you to narrate ones book it must be a soothing thing. I would love to narrate some of my favorite books but alas I do not have the narrator voice I just have my voice and it only fluctuates so much,lol.

  7. Veronica says:

    Another Sunday, another excellent blog!
    I’m learning English and each of your blogs that I read always brings me a new word to learn! This time: nepotism. Thank you for doing them! I start the day with a smile as I read it
    Hope you and your family have a good International Women’s day!

  8. Rachel says:

    Congrats on the “gig” narrating children’s books!
    Back when I had a Patreon, I remember starting Eclipsed with the video you posted on YouTube of the first couple of chapters. I thought it was really awesome how you added a bit of commentary throughout, and it made me really enjoy the book more. Narrations/audiobooks of all of your books would be awesome!

  9. Lynn Margaret says:

    You have such a distinctive voice and so comforting, this is a PERFECT fit for your talents! I hope you do write a children’s book, if for nothing else, than to stretch your skills some more. You recording your book, Eclipsed, is going to be absolutely amazing and I can’t wait for it!!!!

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